At Rest by Pino Daeni
The other day, as I was hovering over the cold tiles of the bathroom floor, blowing disorderly strands of hair out of my face, in order to properly clean the pee off the bathroom floor, my two-year-old snuck up behind me. Placing his small childish hand on my shoulder, he looked at my work, and like a tiny foreman, he proclaimed boldly, “Great job Mommy! I’m so proud of you.”
Well, if that’s all it takes…!
As I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the shiny pee-covered tile (I know, so poetic), I was transported to prior days. I remembered the days when I would get out of bed and choose one of my “professional” outfits, before coordinating hair and earrings. Lets just face it, I’m always running late (even in my flashbacks), so makeup usually happened somewhere between the metro and work.
Work! So much of who we are in this society is what we do. Think about any new conversation you have with someone. Shortly after your name, comes what you do. And what you do is not just a title, but rather a list of tasks and qualifications. It’s almost as if we are walking resumes, and must prove our worth to the person questioning (and ourselves), over and over again.
We are a Culture of Accolades!
“Hi, I’m Henry.” “What do you do Henry?” “Well, I’m a sales and marketing rep. Basically, we sell pharmaceuticals to some of the leading hospitals. And actually, just this year our company was named one of the top agencies in the country!”
We hear so many words like “leading,” “top,” “best,” “advancing,” but what does it all mean? I get it! We’re all the best. We’re all advancing and leading our cause. But Henry, WHO ARE YOU?
When you transition to full-time motherhood, the accolades quickly turn to, “Great job cleaning that pee Mommy!” Suddenly, the pride of your two-year-old better be enough to replace the fancy award, banquet, increase in salary, or dedication speech.
Suddenly, your social resume reads, “I’m a stay-at-home-mom for one of the most dysfunctional houses on our block. We specialize in meltdowns, drama, life-lessons, hard knocks, and have presented injuries to some of the leading hospitals in the country!”
But, guess what I have learned (over and over again)? It’s not about ME! Who I am is not only what I do. And in fact, because of the grave immortal responsibility of what I do, this job is forming me in ways I will never fully grasp, or be truly grateful in this lifetime. One of these parenting accolades I have been all too happy to reject, time and again, is humility.
My choice often comes down to two things: either huff and puff (loudly) about the pee on the floor, or offer it up and smile at my child who gives me his small genuine accolade. Don’t get me wrong, it’s actually a very hard choice in the moment! I often huff and puff, and then find that behavior staring back at me from the face of a child. It often presents itself in the form of a three-year-old reminding me of my road rage, by screaming, “Move it, Buddy” from the back of the van.
My bad habits have presented themselves many times, in the form of toddlers, who mouths sound much more dirty speaking my filth. And I wonder how I never saw this in myself, all those years as I rode the metro to and from work, collecting accolades.
The Motherhood Accolades
I now giggle sometimes in the moment, thinking of the accolade I would receive for “Not losing my lunch when changing the most toxic diaper,” or “Not driving off the road when I turn around to see a scene from of the Exorcist happening live from the back of our van.”
While there may be no exclusive award for namely “poop in the tub,” or “up-all-night snuggling a sick kid,” there is certainly a reward in heaven!
Copyright 2016 Kimberly Cook
Originally Published at Catholic Mommy Blogs